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Smoking in Germany and Switzerland

Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:37 PM
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Smoking in Germany and Switzerland

Per today CNN news, there will be restriction on smoking at all restaurants and bars in the UK. Is there such restriction in Germany ? As we will start our travel from first week of July.
I am non smokers and so look forward for non smoking at drinking and eating places. An update information on Germany would be appreciated.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:44 PM
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No, there is no such restriction in Germany or Austria (not sure about Switzerland). Restaurants in Germany can be very smokey. You might try for places that have outdoor seating and then request to be seated at the edge. The people-watching will be nice and the breeze should help dispell some of the smoke. In touristy areas, a lot of restaurants have small non-smoking areas.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 01:31 PM
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I wish there was. Unfortunately our politicians have been discussing restrictions for ages without actually doing anything. Quite a lot of restaurants and pubs have introduced non-smoking areas recently, but that's a voluntary program. So the situation has improved a bit, although not everywhere. Pubs tend to be very smoky, restaurants care more about their quality of air.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 03:29 PM
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Hi A,

On our recent visit to Austria, Bavria and France we found that far fewer people were smoking in restaurants than in past years.

Many restos are asking people to not smoke or have no smoking areas.



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Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 02:53 PM
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Tricky question as in Germany there had been a battle over competences re. this matter between the 16 states and the federal government.
As a rule of thumb, most restaurants in most states will have to be non-smoking in the near future (but not yet in July).
As of today, most fast food restaurants are non-smoking, also several regular restaurants (but only a minority).
While there seem to be a slight majority for the ban in restaurants (a major magazine quoted 55%), it may be a different thing with bars or pubs. It may be assumed that many of the latter will turn into private clubs and charge a nominal fee of 1 Euro for so guest will become members and the location won't be regulated by the ban.
The idea of a smoke-free pub is still considered a contradiction in itself in Germany ... if I may exaggerate it a bit.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 05:00 PM
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I am particularly interested in this topic as I cannot tolerate smoke at all. I am considering Germany and the Netherlands as my next trip, but have reservations about the dining and lodging situation.

Is it possible to find B&B's that are entirely non-smoking? Are there enough restaurants with outdoor dining to get by? Just can't sit in smoke at all!

Thanks!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 05:15 PM
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There are definitely many non-smoking B&B's in Amsterdam. I found quite a few when I was researching for a trip a couple years ago.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 10:12 PM
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Switzerland and smoking:

The good news:
- There are fewer smokers.
- Smoking in restaurants is not allowed in Canton Tessin.
- Smoking is not allowed on trains.

The bad news:
- Smoking in restaurants is still allowed everywhere except for Tessin.

Smoking is finally being seen as a health hazard to be dealt with. I'm hoping for a non-smoking in restaurants law within the next five years.

When looking for a table, you might want to mention to the waiter/waitress that you prefer a non-smoking area. Some places have it in Switzerland, some don't.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 10:37 PM
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The key word in asking for a table is "Nichtraucher" = 'non-smoker'.

e.g. "Koennen wir bitte einen Tisch im Nichtraucherteil des Restaurants bekommen."

= "Can we please have a table in the non-smoking part of the restaurant."

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Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 11:42 PM
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Dayle, at the moment smoking is allowed in all bars and restaurants in the Netherlands. Most, but not all have good Airco so the atmosphere is not too smokey. However many places are just awful I'm afraid. There are a few non smoking places already, but from July 08 all public places, including bars and restaurants must be non smoking. As it is at the moment you cannot smoke on an open train platform, except in a designated area, but you can smoke in a tiny enclosed pub. Daft but typically Dutch.
Look for "Niet Roken" signs or just ask if they have a non smoking area. I a really looking forward to the smoking ban, as I don't visit bars or restaurants that much at the moment due to the smoke.
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 02:07 AM
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The dominos are falling rapidly. Once France has finished the change on January 1st, 2008 and all restaurants, cafés and bars have become non smoking, it should influence the countries to the east.
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 02:22 AM
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>Is it possible to find B&B's that are entirely non-smoking?

Most hotels in Germany are either completely non-smoking (in the rooms) or provide only a few smokers' rooms. Even most smokers I know prefer to stay in nonsmoking rooms and to smoke either on the balcony or outdoors. Same in the trains - most smokers prefer to sit in nonsmoker's areas (which make about 80% of the train length, and from September on 100%)
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 03:23 AM
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Just returned from Austria and Germany and I am having a few respiratory problems. Our room was smokefree and they had a non-smoking restaurant and a huge outdoor place for smokers. Definitely check the privately owned inns for this feature. I ate outside the whole time and on occasion had to move due to smokers. The airport in Munich was a smoke pit. They did have one smokefree restaurant, though. Almost everywhere we went in Germany and Austria was smoky, including the areas where you waited for a train or bus. Kids were smoking a LOT. They sell cigs from machines, too. So..good luck..be creative and flexible. After 2 trips to Switzerland and this trip to Germany and Austria, I would still go back in a heartbeat.
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 03:33 AM
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May I disagree with the last comment that most hotels in Germany are entirely non-smoking (rooms). I do travel on business quite a bit in my country and if I should sum it up, I'd say that

a) many major chains (Sheraton, Hilton, Intercontinental etc.) have entirely non-smoking floors.
b) almost all of those hotels' restaurants are smoke-free during breakfast
c) if a good hotel has more than one restaurant, one of them should be non-smoking
d) most hotel lobbies are smoker-friendly, so are all the hotel bars I have been to.
Just a rule of thumb, though.

There is a rather new chain of hotels called Motel One which seem to be mostly non-smoking (entire hotel).
http://www.motel-one.de
(has an English version, too)

Otherwise, there are many hotels scattered all over the country that are already totally non-smoking, but those often are owner-operated and I have not seen a complete database. Maybe others have been more successfull.

It's more or less relying on tips you may get here or Google once you have your itinerary planned and can check for non-smoking accomodation in specific cities.
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 01:56 PM
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Thanks for the comments everyone! My trip won't be until 2008, so looks like things will be improving by then.

I was amazed in the difference in the smoking situation between 3 trips to Italy, 1996, 2000, and 2005. 1996 was miserable and 2005 was a delight (smoking wise)!
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 02:18 PM
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Airports, taxis, trains, stations, and federal buildings will be non-smoking by Sep 1, 2007.
States' government building are supposed to be next.

It's still not clear how restaurants, bars etc. will be handled as those are private properties.
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Old Jul 1st, 2007, 07:36 AM
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the no smoking news from BBC
http://tinyurl.com/2q477s
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Old Jul 1st, 2007, 11:20 AM
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I live in Lausanne, Switzerland. The European HQ for Philip Morris is right here in town. The European HQ for British American Tobacco is in Geneva. Both companies are allowed to pass out little mini-packs of cigarettes at music festivals. They kind of look like boxes of those little candy cigs we could get as kids in the 60's. Anyway, I don't envison a non-smoking Suisse Romande in the near future, malheureusement....
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